Preston North End F.C.

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Preston North End
PNE FC.png
Full name Preston North End Football Club
Nickname(s) The Lilywhites
Founded 1880; 138 years ago (1880)[1]
Ground Deepdale
Ground Capacity 23,404[2]
Manager Alex Neil[3]
League Championship
2017–18 Championship, 7th of 24
Website Club website
Current season

Preston North End Football Club (often shortened to PNE) is a professional football club in Preston, Lancashire, who play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system.

The club was a founding member of the Football League and completed the inaugural season unbeaten to become the first league champions, in the same season winning the FA Cup without conceding a goal to become the first club to achieve the English football "Double". The double-winning team became known as "The Old Invincibles", but the nickname of all the club's teams is "The Lilywhites".

Preston's most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly Sr. and Graham Alexander.

Based on results achieved in the Football League from 1888–89 to 2015–16, Preston were ranked as the fourth most-successful English football club of all time domestically, while only Notts County had played more Football League games than Preston.[4]


Preston North End was founded in 1863, originally as a cricket club, playing their first matches at the Marsh near the River Ribble in the Preston suburb of Ashton, before switching later that year to Moor Park in the north of the town, adopting the "North End" name as a result. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, which has been their home ever since.[1]

The club adopted the rugby union code in 1877, but one year later they played their first game under the rules of association football, and in May 1880 unanimously passed a resolution to adopt the association code, marking the foundation of Preston North End Football Club.[1]

Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, still a record winning margin in English first-class football. Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record.[5]

In 1888–89, they became the first league champions and the first winners of "The Double", becoming the only team to date to go throughout an entire season unbeaten in both the league and FA Cup – winning the FA Cup without conceding a goal.[6]

Preston were league champions again the following season, but have not won the title since, although they have been league runners-up six times, including three consecutive seasons (1891–93) and twice in the 1950s. The club's last major trophy win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938.

Preston North End in 1888–89, the first Football League champions, subsequently doing 'The Double'

Preston's most famous player, Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960. Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the "Preston Plumber" due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the club's top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances, and also scored 30 international goals for England.

Following Finney's retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since. The club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United.

Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, but won promotion back as champions at the first attempt. Alan Ball, Sr., then manager, remarked that "Preston's fans are the best, they are the Gentry", and the club now designates one away fixture each season as "Gentry Day", intended for remembrance of deceased fans and players, which many Preston fans attend wearing bowler hats and gentlemen's suits.[7][8][9]

Among others, World Cup winners Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles would manage the club during the 1970s and 80s, with varying degrees of success, but the overall trajectory was one of steady decline, and the club eventually fell into the Fourth Division for the first time in its history in 1985, finishing second bottom of the entire league the following season, and only avoiding relegation into the Football Conference via re-election.

John McGrath oversaw Preston's promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, where he had achieved two successive promotions and come close to attaining a unique third into the top flight. Preston hoped his "long ball" philosophy might work for them too, but Beck was unable to save Preston from relegation during his first season, and after defeat in the play-off final a year later, he was replaced by his assistant Gary Peters.

After signing strikers Andy Saville and Steve Wilkinson, Peters successfully guided Preston to the Division Three title in his first full season as manager, eventually quitting in February 1998, to be replaced by 34-year-old defender David Moyes.

Under David Moyes, Preston were Division Two champions in 2000, and narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League the following season.

Captained by Sean Gregan and featuring such players as Jon Macken, Graham Alexander and David Eyres, Preston quickly developed into Division Two promotion contenders under Moyes, reaching the 1998–99 play-offs, before being promoted as champions the following year. The club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Moyes left for Everton the following season, and despite successive play-off campaigns under Billy Davies – when the team included Youl Mawéné, David Healy and England international David Nugent, the first Preston player to win a full England cap since Tom Finney in 1958 – and another play-off attempt under Alan Irvine, Preston were unable to achieve promotion to the Premier League during a ten-year spell in the second tier.

A succession of unsuccessful managerial appointments, starting with Darren Ferguson and ending with Graham Westley, saw the club relegated to League One and threatened with a further drop to the fourth tier after a club record run of 12 home games without a win under the latter's stewardship,[10] before an up-turn in fortunes began under Simon Grayson, who was appointed in February 2013.[11]

Bolstered by the signing of Tom Clarke and Paul Gallagher, along with the goalscoring form of Joe Garner, Preston reached the League One play-offs in Grayson's first full season, and finally won promotion to the Championship in May 2015, after beating Swindon Town 4–0 in the play-off final, including a hat-trick by on-loan striker Jermaine Beckford. The club had failed to achieve promotion in their previous nine appearances in the play-offs across all three divisions, a record at the time.[12]

Since promotion to the second tier, Preston have achieved two successive top-half finishes despite having the third-lowest budget in the Championship, relying on a shrewd transfer policy and the development of young, relatively inexpensive players.[13][14]


Deepdale stadium.

The site of the current Deepdale stadium was first leased by the club in 1875 and was first used for association football in 1878.[15] The biggest attendance seen was 42,684 for a Division One clash with Arsenal in April 1938.[16]

Following a complete reconstruction between 1996 and 2009, the stadium has a seated capacity of 23,404.[2] The current pitch dimensions are 110 x 75 yards.[16]


The Splash commemorates Preston legend Tom Finney.

Outside the Sir Tom Finney Stand, is a statue of the famous player himself, this is known as The Splash or the Tom Finney Splash.

The statue, sculpted by Peter Hodgkinson and unveiled in July 2004, was inspired by a famous photograph taken at the Chelsea versus PNE game in 1956, played at Stamford Bridge in particularly wet conditions.


As of 11 August 2018.[17]

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Declan Rudd
2 England DF Darnell Fisher
3 England DF Josh Earl
4 England MF Ben Pearson
5 England DF Tom Clarke (captain)
6 England DF Ben Davies
7 Republic of Ireland FW Callum Robinson
8 Republic of Ireland MF Alan Browne
9 England FW Louis Moult
10 England FW Josh Harrop
11 Jamaica MF Daniel Johnson
12 Scotland MF Paul Gallagher
13 Wales GK Michael Crowe
14 England DF Jordan Storey
15 England DF Calum Woods
16 Wales DF Andrew Hughes
18 England MF Ryan Ledson
No. Position Player
19 Republic of Ireland FW Graham Burke
21 England FW Brandon Barker (on loan from Manchester City)
22 Wales GK Chris Maxwell
23 England DF Paul Huntington
24 Republic of Ireland FW Seán Maguire
25 Republic of Ireland DF Kevin O'Connor
26 England FW Michael Howard
27 England FW Connor Simpson
29 England FW Tom Barkhuizen
30 England MF Jack Baxter
31 England DF Tom Stead
32 Republic of Ireland MF Adam O'Reilly
39 Wales FW Billy Bodin
45 England FW Lukas Nmecha (on loan from Manchester City)
50 Republic of Ireland DF Andy Boyle
52 England MF Ben Pringle
53 Belgium DF Marnick Vermijl

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
28 England GK Mathew Hudson (at Bury until 1 January 2019)[18]
51 England DF Tommy Spurr (at Fleetwood Town until end of season)[19]

Former players[edit]

Technical staff[edit]

Below is a list of non-playing personnel:[20][21]

Name Role
Alex Neil Manager
Frankie McAvoy Assistant Manager
Steve Thompson First Team Coach
Jack Cudworth Goalkeeping Coach
Matt Jackson First Team Physio
Tom Little Fitness Coach
Nick Harrison Academy Manager
Joe Savage Head of Recruitment
Daniel Steve Cowell Kitman

Managerial history[edit]

As of 11 August 2018

The following is a list of Preston North End managers since 1986, excluding caretakers:[22][23]

Manager Nationality Period Total League
G W D L Win % G W D L Win % Point Av.
John McGrath  England 1986–1990 192 74 53 65 38.54 165 68 45 54 41.21 1.51
Les Chapman  England 1990–1992 129 44 30 55 34.11 118 39 29 50 33.05 1.24
John Beck  England 1992–1994 99 36 20 43 36.36 87 31 19 37 35.63 1.29
Gary Peters  England 1994–1998 166 72 42 52 43.37 143 63 37 43 44.06 1.58
David Moyes  Scotland 1998–2002 234 113 60 61 48.29 196 95 53 48 48.47 1.72
Craig Brown  Scotland 2002–2004 106 36 30 40 33.96 97 32 28 37 32.99 1.28
Billy Davies  Scotland 2004–2006 101 45 35 21 45.55 87 40 31 16 45.98 1.74
Paul Simpson  England 2006–2007 67 27 14 26 40.30 62 25 14 23 40.32 1.44
Alan Irvine  Scotland 2007–2009 110 45 25 40 40.90 99 40 24 35 40.40 1.45
Darren Ferguson  Scotland 2010 49 13 11 25 26.53 45 11 11 23 24.44 0.98
Phil Brown  England 2011 51 15 15 21 29.41 42 13 11 18 30.95 1.19
Graham Westley  England 2012–2013 62 16 23 23 25.81 52 11 21 20 21.15 1.04
Simon Grayson  England 2013–2017 235 104 74 57 44.26 198 84 67 47 42.42 1.61
Alex Neil  Scotland 2017– 51 21 16 14 41.18 48 20 16 12 41.67 1.58





In 1996, Preston's Third Division title made them the third club to have been champions of all four professional leagues in English football. This feat has also been achieved by Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1988, local rivals Burnley in 1992, and both Sheffield United and Portsmouth in 2017.

Club records[edit]


Historically, Preston North End's main rivalry has been with Blackpool and the West Lancashire derby between the two clubs has been contested across all four divisions of the Football League since 1901.[29]

Preston's local rivals in the league in recent years have included Burnley, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.


The club's main sponsors since shirt sponsorship was introduced in 1979 have been as follows:[30]

Years Sponsor(s)
1979–1984 Pontins
1984–1985 David Leil
1985–1986 Lombard Continental
1986–1990 Garratt's Insurance
1990–1992 Ribble Valley Shelving
1992–1995 Coloroll
1995–2002 Baxi
2002–2005 New Reg
2005–2010 Enterprise
2010–2012 Tennent's
2012–2013 Magners
2013–2014 The Football Pools/Carers Trust[31]
2014–2016 Virgin Trains[32]
2016–2017 888sport
2017– Tempobet [33]

Women's football[edit]

The previously affiliated women's football team was called Preston North End W.F.C.

In May 2016, they became Fylde Ladies F.C., in association with National League North side A.F.C. Fylde.[34]


  1. ^ a b c History. "Preston North End FC History". 
  2. ^ a b Ben Rhodes. "Deepdale Stadium". 
  3. ^ "Alex Neil Appointed Preston North End Manager". PNEFC. 
  4. ^ "England : All Time Table". Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "FA Cup Heroes". The Football Association. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  6. ^ In 2003–04, Arsenal also achieved an unbeaten season in the top flight, but they went out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage.
  7. ^ Digital Sports Group LTD. "Preston North End's Gentry Day". 
  8. ^ "Hats off to PNE's 'Gentry'". 
  9. ^ "Index of /". 
  10. ^ "Ridsdale backing for Westley". Sky Sports. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "Simon Grayson named Preston North End manager" – via 
  12. ^ "Preston 4–0 Swindon" - BBC Sport, 24 May 2015
  13. ^ "Simon Grayson aims to send Arsenal the same way as Manchester United". Daily Telegraph. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "Pearson Proud To Receive Award". PNEFC. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  15. ^ "Deepdale Stadium". Preston North End FC. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "North End Statistics". Preston North End FC. 3 April 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Preston North End – First Team Squad". Preston North End F.C. 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018. 
  18. ^ "Hudson Joins Bury On Loan". PNEFC. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2018. 
  19. ^ "Tommy Spurr Joins Fleetwood Town On Loan". PNEFC. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  20. ^ "First Team Management". PNEFC. 
  21. ^ "Academy Staff". PNEFC. 
  22. ^ "List of Preston North End F.C. Managers". Preston North End. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  23. ^ "Preston Manager History – Past & Present – Soccer Base". 
  24. ^ a b c d Up until 1992, the top division of English football was the Football League First Division; since then, it has been the Premier League. Similarly until 1992, the Second Division was the second tier of league football, when it became the First Division, and is now known as The Championship. The third tier was the Third Division until 1992, and is now known as League One.
  25. ^ a b c d e "Milestones". Preston North End FC. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  26. ^ "Jordan Hugill: West Ham sign Preston striker in reported £10m deal". BBC Sport. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018. 
  27. ^ "Zibaka Breaks North End Record". League Football Education. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  28. ^ "Age is just a number – Graham Alexander". BBC Sport. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  29. ^ "Blackpool's Head To Head Stats Against Any Team – Soccer Base". 
  30. ^ "Preston North End – Sponsors Through the Years". Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  31. ^ "Sponsorship Puts Charities First". PNE. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  32. ^ "Preston North End Agree Virgin Trains Partnership". PNE. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "Preston North End Agree Principal Partner Deal With Tempobet". PNE. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  34. ^ "PNE women's team have fresh start as Fylde Ladies". Blackpool Gazette. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 

External links[edit]